KARACHI: Sialkot Stallions maintained their supremacy in national Twenty20 cricket when they beat Faisalabad Wolves to win the RBS Twenty20 Cup late Sunday.
The Stallions scored a five-wicket win to bag their fifth straight title with an impressive all-round display at the National Stadium Karachi (NSK).
Wolves captain Misbah-ul-Haq elected to bat on a flat NSK pitch but his side failed to capitalise and set Sialkot a meagre target of 110 runs. Mohammad Asif struck for Sailkot on the second ball of the match when he bowled out Asif Hussain, who scored 54 in the semi-final against Lahore Lions.
Wickets then fell at regular intervals for Faisalabad and Mohammad Hafeez’s 29 was the top score for the inaugural winners of the tournament. Hafeez was scoring at a brisk rate despite losing partners at the other end but was runout by Abdul Rahman in the ninth over. It was then down to captain Misbah and all-rounder Shahid Nazir to see the side through to a respectable total but the pair only managed a 33-run partnership. Rahman and Razzaq took two wickets each while Asif, Rana Naved and Sarfraz Ahmed bagged a wicket apiece.
Sialkot’s start was eventful as Imran Nazir scored 10 runs off the first two balls he faced but made his way back to the pavilion on the third. The Stallions lost another wicket in the next over, as opener Mansoor Amjad was run out on nought. However, Rana Naved and Shahid Yousuf combined to stabilise Stallions’ innings with a 37-run partnership. Naved’s dismissal in the eighth over was followed by that of captain Shoaib Malik, causing a few jitters in the Sailkot camp but Abdul Razzaq’s flurry of boundaries ensured the chase did not falter. He hit four boundaries off Mohamamd Talha in the eleventh over much to the delight of the over-capacity NSK crowd.
The match ended in the seventeenth over when Shoaib Malik’s younger brother, Adeel Malik hit a four and six, and ran two runs to guide the defending champions home.
Sialkot bagged a prize money of Rs.2.5 million and a glittering trophy, presented by Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ijaz Butt.
Abdul Razzaq’s all-round display (two wickets and 24 runs) got him the man-of-the-match award while the best batsman award went to Mohammad Hafeez, the best bowler award to Aizaz bin Ilyas and the best fielder award was shared by Umar Akmal and Shahid Yousuf.